For some who had been longingly waiting for a booster, the CDC recommendation was all it needed to get into action. Gary Valan, a technology consultant in Oakland, Calif. Who said he was over 65, was so eager for the booster that he made an appointment for Friday afternoon. In an online commentary on a New York Times article about booster vaccinations, he wrote, “Folks in my neighborhood, just stay off my way to the pharmacy. I’m going to knock the old ladies down to get my syringe 🙂 You have been warned. “
Others were still trying to understand the recommendations. Mildred Fine, 96, who worked in an assisted living facility in Baton Rouge, La.
“They seem to change their minds every day or two,” she said of federal scientists. She wanted to get her Pfizer BioNTech booster syringe as soon as possible. With so many virus cases in Louisiana, she said she was still cautious about going to Costco to get her hearing aids fitted or eating at a restaurant.
State and federal officials said they were initially unconcerned about vaccine supplies, which remain sufficient to at least cover those who may be eligible for booster vaccinations in the next few months.
“There are already tens of millions of doses in locations across the country, and pharmacies and states can still order additional supplies,” said Sonya Bernstein, a senior policy advisor for the White House’s Covid-19 response team.
But officials are most concerned about injecting unvaccinated Americans, a concurrent campaign that many public health experts believe is more important than empowering those already vaccinated. “We can’t take our foot off the gas with the unvaccinated,” said Ms. Hall, the North Dakota counselor who ranks at the low end of vaccination rates in the US.
The refresher campaign begins amid a heated debate among vaccine experts about the benefits of the extra vaccinations and who will need them. Scientists from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have said protection from severe Covid-19 and hospitalization – the metrics they would normally use to assess whether refreshments are needed – has remained high in all age groups. Top FDA vaccine experts have publicly argued that there is no need to give it to the general population.